On 30th January, that was 2 days ago, the world observed leprosy day to increase the awareness of the Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease. Leprosy happens to be one of the oldest diseases recorded in the world. So today, the Department of Microbiology, University of Uyo paid a visit to the Qua Iboe Church Leprosy Home located at Ekpene Obom in Etinan Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
The place as we learned was founded in 1932 and as at then, leprosy was considered a taboo so the idea to provide shelter to those suffering from the disease started with Esther Davis from Ireland.
On getting there, Mr Afia Archibong, the medical superintendent took us around the hospital, where we got to see the control unit, the eye clinic, maternity unit, pharmacy, laboratory, the operation unit and the physiotherapy department. We were allowed to see the patients, for someone like me I have only seen them in movies but I got to see them today, I couldn’t help but feel pity for them. Life isn’t easy for those patients but the hospital is really doing their best to take care of them.
Funny enough most people think that leprosy is a punishment from God even the educated ones but the fact is that, leprosy is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium leprae. Now I’m sounding like a microbiologist right? Lol – so next time don’t just stand there when someone is arguing this.
Apart from that we learned a whole lot like leprosy is an airborne disease and it cannot be transmitted 48 hours after treatment has commenced. Anyone can be infected so we shouldn’t discriminate against those suffering from it. People affected with leprosy are called PAL and not lepers.
Thanks to our lecturers – Dr Akintola, Dr Mrs Dora Udoh and Mrs Mfonido for organising the visit/excursion, we really got exposed to things we weren’t aware of. By the way, leprosy is curable in case someone tells you it’s not. And before I forget they make artificial limbs there for people whose legs have been amputated.
Lastly I learned that no matter the situation you find yourself in you should be grateful cause there are people who are in worse situations and they are still grateful to God.